10-31-19 Kosovo rape: Teacher and policeman accused in teenager case
Kosovo prosecutors have charged six people over the alleged rape of a teenager that has shocked the Balkans. The teenager is said to have been abused by a teacher and then by a police officer over two years from 2017, when she was 16. Prosecutors opened the case following reports by an investigative website. Police said in February they had arrested a teacher, a policeman and a gynaecologist accused of performing an illegal abortion on the girl. Kosovo President Hashim Thaci described the case at the time as "tragic". The case, first reported by the Insajderi website, provoked outrage in Kosovo, leading to a women's rights protest outside police headquarters in the capital, Pristina. On Wednesday, prosecutors said six suspects, including a teacher and a policeman, had been charged in connection with the case, AFP news agency reports. They were indicted "on suspicion of having committed the offences of sexual abuse, abuse of their position... and inducement to unlawful pregnancy", prosecutors said. The girl, according to Insajderi's report, was allegedly first raped in 2017 by her teacher in a town west of the capital. When she reported the case to police, the girl was allegedly raped repeatedly by the officer assigned to investigate the allegations, the website said. When the girl became pregnant, she was allegedly driven to Pristina in January this year and forced to have an abortion. The teacher and the policeman have denied the allegations, according to reports. When Insajderi reported the case, hundreds of women took to the streets of Kosovo, demanding justice for victims of sexual violence. Waving placards and chanting slogans against the police and judiciary, protesters accused authorities of failing to safeguard women's rights.
10-29-19 Aya Maasarwe: Australian jailed for student's high-profile murder
A man has been jailed for raping and murdering an Arab Israeli student in a high-profile case in Australia. Codey Herrmann, 21, attacked Aya Maasarwe near a university in Melbourne in January. The killing sparked a wave of anger about violence towards women in Australia, prompting vigils which were attended by thousands of people. A judge jailed Herrmann for a maximum of 36 years, calling it a "savage attack". Ms Maasarwe, 21, had been living in Melbourne on a one-year university exchange when she was murdered. In her sentencing remarks on Tuesday, Judge Elizabeth Hollingworth described Ms Maasarwe as "a kind young woman who had her whole life in front of her". "Women should be free to walk the streets alone without fear of being attacked by strangers," she told the Supreme Court of Victoria. Herrmann had pleaded guilty to the attack. He will be eligible for parole in 30 years. Ms Maasarwe was attacked around midnight on 16 January near La Trobe University, in the suburb of Bundoora, while on the phone to her sister. Herrmann struck her with a metal pole before raping her and inflicting other fatal violence, the court heard. He then set her body alight in an attempt to cover up his crime. Ms Maasarwe's body was found the next morning and Herrmann was arrested two days later. At the time, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called it an "incredibly shocking, despicable and tragic attack". Huge crowds of people took part in vigils at the university and on the steps of state parliament in central Melbourne. Australia's human rights commission has said that the country has "a disturbingly high rate of violence against women". According to government figures, one in five women, and one in 20 men, have experienced sexual violence or threats since the age of 15.
10-25-19 Cuba Gooding Jr.
Cuba Gooding Jr. faced an expanding cast of sexual assault accusers last week, as Manhattan prosecutors offered 12 new alleged victims to illustrate a pattern of unwanted groping by Gooding dating back to 2001. Gooding, 51, already pleaded not guilty to two charges of assault at New York nightclubs. One new accuser says the actor came up from behind at a Los Angeles hotel in 2001 and rubbed his groin against her. Another woman says Gooding reached inside her blouse in 2011 and squeezed her bare breast. Gooding lawyer Mark Heller said prosecutors are “pandering to the current hypersensitive climate,” likening the allegations to the criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden’s platonic kisses and shoulder rubs.
10-25-19 Professors are demanding sex for grades
The rot in Nigerian universities is a menace to the nation, said the Nigerian Tribune. An undercover BBC investigation into West African universities caught Nigerian professors “undertaking prurient negotiations that were quite unbecoming of university teachers”—namely, offering good grades for sexual favors. Reporters infiltrated the faculty club and found an orgy room outfitted like a disco, where girls were plied with alcohol as their teachers danced with them, groped them, and had sex with them. Not even teenagers seeking admission to the university were safe from leering faculty. Such corrupt behavior not only robs students of a harassment-free learning environment, it also deprives Nigeria of properly educated graduates. Society is damaged by “both the lecherous, predatory lecturers and the weak and lazy students who earn good grades through unwholesome means.” If Nigeria graduates “unfit students in professions like medicine and engineering,” the whole country will suffer. Bribing teachers surely happens everywhere in the world to some extent, but while “developed countries might be able to get by with the menace,” a developing country like Nigeria cannot afford to be seen as corrupt. School authorities must expel all those “who are involved in the shameful deeds.”
10-25-19 Stalkerware: The software that spies on your partner
Amy says it all started when her husband seemed to know intimate details about her friends. "He would drop snippets into conversations, such as knowing about Sarah's baby. Really private things that he shouldn't have known about. If I asked how he knew these things, he'd say I'd told him and accuse me of losing it," she says. Amy - not her real name - also began to wonder how he seemed to know where she was all the time. "Sometimes he would say he saw me at a cafe where I was meeting my friends and say he was just passing by chance. I started to question everything and trust no-one, even my friends," she says. For months, these incidents built up, turning an abusive marriage into a nightmare that came to a chilling conclusion after a Halloween family trip. "We'd been to visit a pumpkin patch and were having a rare good weekend, which basically means my husband hadn't taken anything out on me. Our six-year-old son was playing on the floor and was so happy," Amy says. "My husband passed me his phone to show me a picture he'd taken at the farm and in that split-second I saw an alert pop up on his screen. It read, 'Daily report on Amy's Mac is ready to view.' "I felt this chill go through me and I stopped breathing for a minute. I had to excuse myself and pretended I needed the bathroom. I had to be there for my son and pretend that I hadn't seen anything. "The first moment I could, I went to the library to use the computer and look up the spyware he'd used. That's when everything made sense after months of thinking I was going crazy." Stalkerware - also known as spouseware - are powerful surveillance software programs typically sold openly online. On a device, all messages can be read, screen activity recorded, GPS locations tracked and cameras used to spy on what an individual is doing. According to cyber-security company Kaspersky, the number of people who have discovered such software on their devices has risen by at least 35% in the past year. Kaspersky researchers say their protection technologies have detected stalkerware on 37,532 devices so far this year. And principal security researcher David Emm says this is the "tip of a very large iceberg". "Most people will routinely protect a laptop or desktop, not that many people actually protect a mobile device," he says. "This information is coming back from installations of our product on [smartphones]... so this figure doesn't even go close to what the total would be." (Webmaster's comment: Another way men are trying to have power over women!)
10-25-19 Women confront Harvey Weinstein at New York event
Several women were booed or asked to leave as they confronted Harvey Weinstein at an event in New York on Wednesday. The movie mogul was in the audience at a showcase for emerging talent when comedian Kelly Bachman criticised him on stage. Weinstein has been accused of several counts of sexual assault, which he denies. Bachman referred to him as "the elephant in the room" and "Freddy Krueger" as she spoke at the event. His representative said the behaviour of the women was "rude" and "uncalled for". "I didn't know we had to bring our own Mace and rape whistles to Actor's Hour," Bachman is seen saying in video footage posted on Instagram. She was booed and told to be quiet by members of the audience, to which she replied: "Sorry, that killed at group therapy for rape survivors." However, some members of the audience then cheered and applauded her. After the event, Bachman told the Guardian she "felt like the air was sucked out of the room" when she spoke about Weinstein on stage. Fellow comedian Amber Rollo and actress Zoe Stuckles reportedly approached Weinstein's table at the interval of the event in the city's Lower East Side. "Nobody's gonna say anything?" Stuckles shouted in the direction of the filmmaker - who was sitting with two bodyguards - before both she and Rollo were asked to leave. Footage of the exchange was later posted on Facebook and reproduced by The Guardian. Rollo tweeted afterwards that she had called him "a monster" and told him he should "disappear". Weinstein has made few few public appearances since widespread allegations of sexual assault were made against him, prompting the rise of the #MeToo movement.
10-24-19 Nusrat Jahan Rafi: Death penalty for 16 who set student on fire
A Bangladesh court has sentenced 16 people to death for the murder of a student set on fire after accusing her teacher of sexual harassment. Nusrat Jahan Rafi, 19, died in April in Feni, a small town some 160km (100 miles) outside the capital Dhaka. Those convicted of murder included the headteacher Nusrat had accused of harassment and two female classmates. Her murder shocked the country and led to a series of protests demanding justice for Nusrat. The trial has been one of the quickest in a country where such cases usually take years to conclude. Prosecutor Hafez Ahmed told reporters it proved "that nobody will get away with murder in Bangladesh". However, the quick conclusion of the case did little to ease her mother's agony on Thursday. "I can't forget her for a moment," Shirin Akhtar told news agency Reuters through tears upon hearing the verdict. "I still feel the pain that she went through." Lawyers for the defendants say they will appeal. The investigation into Nusrat's death revealed a conspiracy to silence her which included her own classmates and a number of powerful men from within the community. Three teachers, including the headmaster, Siraj Ud Doula, who police say ordered the killing from prison after he was arrested under suspicion of harassment, were found guilty by the court on Thursday. Another two of the defendants convicted, Ruhul Amin and Maksud Alam, are local leaders of the ruling Awami League party. A number of local police were found to have collaborated with those convicted in spreading false information that Nusrat had committed suicide. The officers were not among those tried for Nusrat's murder. Nusrat's family, who supported her decision to go to police back in March, have since been given police protection. Her brother Mahmudul Hasan Noman said they were still in fear for their lives.
10-24-19 Rose McGowan sues Weinstein over 'silencing attempts'
Actress Rose McGowan has filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, his ex-lawyers and a private intelligence agency, accusing them of trying to silence her. McGowan was one of the first people to accuse Mr Weinstein of rape in 2017. She claims Mr Weinstein and his team conspired to discredit her after they heard she was writing a book. The movie mogul is currently awaiting trial and denies all allegations of non-consensual sex. Ms McGowan claims she was raped by Mr Weinstein in a hotel room during a business meeting at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. Her lawsuit targets Mr Weinstein, lawyers David Boies and Lisa Bloom, and the private intelligence firm Black Cube. The claims include racketeering, invasion of privacy and fraud. It claims that as soon as they heard she was writing a book in 2016 that included details about the alleged sexual assault, Mr Weinstein and his team attempted to ensure the book was never published. She alleged that Mr Weinstein recruited Black Cube to obtain information on the book by posing as an advocate for women. The suit says: "This case is about a diabolical and illegal effort by one of America's most powerful men and his representatives to silence sexual-assault victims. And it is about the courageous women and journalists who persisted to reveal the truth." Eric George, attorney for Ms Bloom, told AFP news agency: "There is simply no credible factual or legal basis for her claims against my client. We look forward to our day in court to set the record straight." Mr Weinstein's lawyer told the Hollywood Reporter that the allegations against him were "baseless." Rose McGowan's book Brave was published last year and included details on the alleged abuse and how Harvey Weinstein "poisoned the film and television industry."
10-18-19 Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
Ronan Farrow has struck again, said Marisa Guthrie in The Hollywood Reporter. In his new book, the young, born-into-fame reporter whose work helped launch the #MeToo movement once again names names, as he recounts how entertainment insiders lined up against him when he worked to expose movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual predation.“Part memoir, part spy thriller, the book is an engrossing account of the dark arts employed by the powerful to suppress their stockpiled bad behavior, as well as the cover-up culture that pervades executive suites.” In Farrow’s telling, his bosses at NBC News quashed the Weinstein story, before he took it elsewhere, because of their personal and business ties to Weinstein—and also because NBC was covering up similar allegations against some of its own executives and stars. The network denies both charges. “The behavior documented in Catch and Kill is profoundly distressing,” said Jennifer Szalai in The New York Times. Farrow focuses mainly on the stories of women victimized by Weinstein and other powerful men, and on the fight to have those stories told. In one of the book’s bombshells, a former NBC employee alleges that she was raped by former Today show anchor Matt Lauer while they were in Sochi to cover the 2014 Olympics. Lauer claims the encounter was consensual. But Farrow has uncovered numerous other allegations against the disgraced former network star, and argues that these incidents undercut NBC’s claim it had been unaware of any misconduct before Lauer’s firing in 2017. Farrow also reports that Weinstein himself obtained dirt on Lauer from the National Enquirer that he used to blackmail the network into silence.
10-18-19 When Harry met Frank
Harry Connick Jr. can testify to the dangers of meeting your heroes, said Adrian Deevoy in The Daily Mail (U.K.). In 1990, the young crooner was being touted as the next Frank Sinatra when he was asked to perform for Sinatra’s 75th birthday party at the Beverly Hilton hotel. “It was a nightmare,” says Connick, now 52. Before going out to sing, he bumped into Ella Fitzgerald backstage, who told him, “I’m so nervous.” Now Connick was even more terrified. He sang “More,” arranged by Quincy Jones, with Sinatra 20 feet away in the front row. “I forgot the words,” Connick says. “It was just disastrous.” After the show he told his then-girlfriend Jill Goodacre (now his wife) that he wanted to apologize. As Sinatra got into an elevator with his wife, Connick caught him and said, “Mr. Sinatra, I want to tell you that I’m a lot better than that.” Sinatra looked at Connick, then at Goodacre, a Victoria’s Secret model. “He took her face in his hands and said, ‘You’re beautiful,’ and he kissed her on the mouth and walked out. It was so aggressive.” Connick grimaces at the memory. “If any guy in the world other than Frank Sinatra does that,” he says, “you’d definitely spark him out.” All he can do now is sigh. “Man,” he says, “that was a rough one.”
10-18-19 Matt Lauer
Former NBC Today show host Matt Lauer released a graphic letter last week attacking one of his sexual assault accusers, saying, “I will no longer provide them the shelter of my silence.” Lauer spoke out after former NBC colleague Brooke Nevils said Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room in Sochi, Russia, where they were covering the 2014 Winter Olympics. “I was too drunk to consent,” Nevils said, adding that she “wept silently into a pillow” while he forced himself on her. Lauer called her “a fully enthusiastic and willing partner,” describing the “variety of sexual acts” they performed. Lauer was fired from the Today show in 2017 after numerous women accused him of sexually preying on them; he insisted last week that “I have never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex.” Nevils called his letter, which paints her as a jilted lover, “a case study in victim blaming.”
10-17-19 Cyntoia Brown-Long: 'It took me years to realise I was a trafficking victim'
Cyntoia Brown-Long was just 16 when she was jailed for life for shooting dead an estate agent who had picked her up for sex. She had run away from home and was being sent out onto the streets to make money for a pimp when she killed 43-year-old Johnny Allen. After being convicted of murder in 2004, Cyntoia was told she wouldn't be eligible for release until she was in her 60s. But she was freed in August this year after being granted clemency by the governor of Tennessee. A campaign to get her released was backed by celebrities including Rihanna and Kim Kardashian-West. Now 31, Cyntoia, from Tennessee, has spoken about her life and says it took her "many, many years" to realise she was a victim of abuse. "I was in my late twenties when I actually realised that I was a trafficking victim," she told CBS News "For so long, you know I had thought, 'No, they said that I was a teenage prostitute. I knew what I was doing'." Cyntoia had a tough upbringing. She ran away from home and got involved with a pimp called Kutthroat who she saw as her boyfriend. But he sexually abused her and sent her out onto the streets to earn him money. Cyntoia says she regrets running away from home because of the pain it caused her mum. "One of my biggest regrets is the way that I hurt my mother," she said. "You know she tried so hard. She tried everything that she knew to try." Cyntoia says she's questioned why she was so vulnerable and got sucked in by her pimp. "You know there's a certain element where you're just vulnerable because you're a child your mind is just naturally impressionable in that way. "But it was like 'Why was it just so easy for this man to come along and in the space of a few weeks I was doing these things?'"
10-16-19 These evidence-based strategies may turn the tide on domestic violence
Deaths due to domestic violence have surged in the UK. Evidence suggests that a mixture of programmes to switch attitudes and help violent men change can help. DEATHS from domestic violence have hit a five-year high in the UK, with 173 people killed by a partner or relative in 2018. The newly published figures have been labelled a “national travesty” by women’s support groups, who are calling for urgent government action. “We know that these are not isolated incidents or one-offs,” says Lucy Hadley at Women’s Aid. The UK government has promised to tackle this violence through its Domestic Abuse Bill, which was introduced by former prime minister Theresa May. During its second reading this month, May said it would be important to “identify the programmes that work” before it is subjected to a final vote. But how do we know what is effective? Most domestic violence is committed by men against women – but not all. There are also examples of women hurting male partners and violence between same-sex couples. In the UK, about three-quarters of victims are women. Domestic violence is a problem beyond the UK. In Australia, on average one woman a week is killed by a current or former partner (see “graphs”). In the US, more than 1500 women were killed by their partner in 2017. Between 17 and 25 per cent of women in all three nations say they have experienced abuse at the hands of a male partner. Obtaining evidence on the best ways to stop domestic violence is difficult. People who participate in studies may be too scared to report abuse, making data unreliable. Nevertheless, we are starting to get a sense of what helps, says Michele Robinson at Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. Domestic violence interventions conventionally involve criminal penalties for perpetrators and counselling and shelter for those affected. Now there is an emerging focus on trying to stop the abuse before it happens, by reshaping “violence-supportive beliefs”, says Robinson.
10-12-19 Why I went public about being raped, 67 years later
Prominent Ghanaian journalist, BBC columnist and former government minister Elizabeth Ohene recently wrote about her experience of being sexually abused more than 60 years ago, when she was just seven years old. Here she explains why she decided to go public after such a long time. I am not quite sure I had considered what the effect would be if I went public with the story of my having been sexually molested. Last Wednesday, I told that story in the weekly column I write for Ghana's largest circulation newspaper, the Daily Graphic. I am a 74-year-old woman and I was recounting something that happened 67 years ago. One of my best friends - male - asked why I had chosen to unburden myself onto the rest of them. The story, I am told, makes difficult reading. Therefore, if I have been able to keep it to myself for 67 years, why was I now telling it, why did I not take it to my grave? I am not sure I wanted to unload my burden onto an unsuspecting public. I had decided ages ago that I had a responsibility to tell this story in the hope a young girl somewhere would be protected from suffering what I went through. Maybe I should first tell the story and then I will attempt to see if I can explain why I have told it. Back in 1952, I was a seven-year-old, happy child living with my grandmother in our village. One day, a man, who was a family relation who lived next door to us, dragged me into his room and sexually molested me. I have a difficulty with the terminology to describe what happened to me. At the time, I cannot say that I knew what he had done, I did not have a name for what he had done, I did not even have a name for the part of my body that had been violated. All I know is that he pushed his very rough fingers and cracked finger nails into my vagina. I don't remember what, if anything he said, it is the overpowering smell of his body and his rough fingers and cracked fingernails that stay with me to this day, 67 years after the event. Today I know what he did and one of the frustrations I have is that social norms do not allow me to describe exactly what happened and I am reduced to saying I was defiled or sexually molested. (Webmaster's comment: Another victim of the hundreds of millions of victims of males brutes!)
10-11-19 Broken marriage
A man sexually assaulted a bridesmaid two days before his Sept. 1 wedding and was caught in the act by his fiancée, yet their wedding went ahead as planned, prosecutors alleged this week. After a day of heavy drinking while rafting down the Delaware River, the wedding party returned to their hotel, and Daniel Carney’s fiancée asked him to help walk her drunk friend inside. Security footage allegedly shows Carney, 28, pulling the woman inside the men’s locker room; Carney’s fiancée entered the locker room 20 minutes later and chased him out. The victim remembers waking up with her bikini bottoms off and Carney on top of her. Hours before the wedding, Carney texted her asking her to “just be happy” for the bride. He said in the message that they didn’t have sex, but he asked if she could take Plan B contraception “just in case.”
10-8-19 Luc Besson: French film director denies rape allegation
Luc Besson, one of France's best-known film directors, has denied raping or drugging a young actress. Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy accused Mr Besson of repeatedly raping her over a two-year period. An investigating judge reopened the case last week, eight months after prosecutors dropped it, following a new complaint by Ms Van Roy. Mr Besson dismissed her as a "fantasist", although he admitted having had a relationship with her. Speaking publicly about the claim for the first time on Tuesday, he told BMFTV that it was a "complete and utter lie". He added: "I have never raped a woman in my life." Ms Van Roy accused Mr Besson of raping her at a hotel in Paris in May 2018. But the original investigation ended when Paris prosecutors said there was not enough evidence. Eight other women have spoken to the French investigative news website Mediapart and accused the director of sexual misconduct. There are few details about those claims. The statute of limitation on some of them has been reached, the website said.
10-7-19 'Sex for grades': Undercover in West African universities
Academic institutions in West Africa have increasingly been facing allegations of sexual harassment by lecturers. This type of abuse is said to be endemic, but it’s almost never proven. After gathering dozens of testimonies, BBC Africa Eye sent undercover journalists posing as students inside the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana. Female reporters were sexually harassed, propositioned and put under pressure by senior lecturers at the institutions – all the while wearing secret cameras. Reporter Kiki Mordi, who knows first-hand how devastating sexual harassment can be, reveals what happens behind closed doors at some of the region’s most prestigious universities.
10-4-19 Al Franken returns to the public eye
As disgraced former Sen. Al Franken returns to the public eye with a SiriusXM radio show, a ninth woman emerged this week to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Speaking anonymously with New York magazine, the woman said she was working for another Democratic senator in 2006 when she met Franken, then a comedian who was mulling a run for office. While posing with Franken at an event, she says, “He puts his hand on my ass…I’m just frozen. It’s so violating. And then he gives me a little squeeze on my buttock.” She says she didn’t speak out before Franken resigned last year because she feared “raising my hand against a powerful man” would endanger future job prospects.